Saturday, March 28, 2009

From Mississippi to Alabama

We crossed the border into Alabama today and we couldn't resist playing (yes, you guessed it), Sweet Home Alabama (the song) as we entered the state. We will be here one short week before heading to North Carolina for a bit of a spring break :). After spending a few weeks in Mississippi, these are my conclusions. It is a BEAUTIFUL state, especially in the springtime. Lots of trees and flowers. I might consider living here if it weren't for the unbearable hot/humid summers. It's hardly spring yet and the poeple here are already talking about the summer. The people are very nice and laid back. Most people joke about those who live in the backwoods and have no running water (though I never met anyone like that). I did have trouble getting wireless internet and cell signal in a lot of place though. O well, forces me to read more. I read the Shack in three days and am currently finishing up Eat, Pray, Love (both of which I really enjoyed). Each one has been a "make you think" book. I realize both could be considered controversial, but I enjoy processing them. I truly wish I could have read the Shack within a book club or something so I could discuss it with people. If you've read it and have comments or would like to discuss it, let me know....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Beauty of Christ in Children

This morning my three girls woke up early in the trailer we were sleeping in here in rural Mississippi. As I awoke to the sound of birds chirping I also heard their whispers. Since it was not time to get up yet I told them they could read their Bibles while I went to shower. I returned to find them reading quietly in bed and as I entered they all clamored to tell me how many verses they had memorized. How many people can say they get that response when they wake up their kids in the morning?! The first words out of little Racheal's mouth this morning were "I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the Lord most high." Rose then quoted John 3:16 and Esther could hardly wait to tell me Proverbs 3:3 (Let love and faithfulness never leave you. Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.). Music to my ears this morning and it put a song of joy in my heart as we ate breakfast, took some pictures on the dock by the lake, and sang prasies to the Lord at the top of our lungs all the way to church. Just when I am tempted to forget how special these children are or how privileged I am to be their auntie, God gives me mornings like this morning.

This afternoon the children have spent several hours rehearsing some new easter songs. I am grateful for a quiet afternoon to be outside with the Lord. After listening to a sermon by Major Ian Thomas I spent some time contemplating what it really means to empty myself and become a vessel to be used by the Lord. I know that God uses those who are available and often those who feel like failures, who are least qualified. David...Abraham...Jonah...Paul...and the list goes on. I've made decisions to empty myself and be a vessel. I want to be available to the Lord and I know it is a process, but I am just really trying to figure out on a daily basis what that means and how I can allow the Lord to change me, empty me, use me. It can be such a struggle to put off ourselves and be filled with the Spirit. Even 10 minutes after I was thinking these things and making promises to the Lord, I found myself being impatient with the children. O Lord please help me to be your servant to the world!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Musings about Mississippi

Mississippi is another state I never knew much about...until now. It's beautiful here. The tall trees remind me of home in a way and the people are great. Most have grown up here and never really left. "A great place to raise a family" as so many people have told me. Except of course for the excruciating heat and humidity in the summer. We've jokingly been invited to come back thank you. I'm good to be in Michigan in August :) I don't know about the rest of you, but I think it is safe to say that many people do not realize that parts of Mississippi were hit harder by Hurricane Katrina than New Orleans was. Whole towns were completely wiped out. I've been inspired by the many stories I have heard of people re-building their lives with God's help. One family I stayed with had the most amazing stories to tell. I was close to tears the whole night and yet excited to hear about how God has worked. I was so inspired I wrote down three pages of notes and took some pictures of the families home. I hope someday to write a book about it. It's worth writing.

On a random note, I have a somewhat funny story to share with you. Yesterday as Laura and I were about to leave for a nice afternoon of shopping...I decided I needed to take a picture on a tire swing hanging so peacefully in a wooded yard. With Laura poised to take the photo I smiled and jumped on. Before I knew what had happened I was sprawled on the ground in a giant mud puddle, with a huge tree branch on my head and a very bad headache. It was quite shocking. Needless to say I spent over an hour on the couch with a bag of ice on my head, hoping and praying I did not have a concussion. I had visions of the last time I had a concussion in New Zealand and ended up puking all over someone's bathroom (so sorry Ayers, if you are reading this). Thankfully I didn't get sick and other than a long lasting headache and sore couple of lumps on my head I am okay. Praise God. Thank you for your continued prayers and HAPPY SPRING!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mardi Gras Headquarters

I never really knew anything about Louisiana except for New Orleans, which I associated with Mardi Gras and Hurricane Katrina. During our short stay here I've gleaned a better understanding of this state and the people who call it home. As far as Mardi Gras is concerned I haven't met anyone who could explain it to me as more than a giant party the day before lent in which people take part in all kinds of behaviors they plan to give up until Easter. Ridiculous if you ask me. I did enjoy a wonderful day exploring the French Quarter area of New Orleans though. I loved the quaint streets, shops, restaurants, and of course all the live music! We ate lunch at an outdoor cafe where we were serenaded by a guy with long dread locks who sounded just like Louis Armstrong. What more could you ask for? I also enjoyed a tasty lunch of fried alligator! I've been to a lot of big cities and I must say New Orleans certainly is distinct and has a lot of interesting people, including old men with purple hair on the street who wanted to read my palm, witchcraft specialists in the doorways, and crazily dressed men in wierd glasses wandering the streets. I was just glad I wasn't alone. We took a nice ferry ride across the mighty Mississippi River and made it back to the church safely. It was a great adventure.
Whatever would make people want to live in a state that is constantly battered by hurricanes beats me, but I've met a lot of people who keep re-building and are determined to stay. Over cups of tea and chocolate cake I have had several interesting conversations with people about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the corruption of politicians in Louisiana, and the ongoing struggles. I've learned that no matter where a person lives, home is home to them and they love it. I guess since I have such a nomadic lifestyle and love for traveling, home has been many places for me, but I've gained a greater appreciation for having a home town and family nearby, since I have been on tour. I've been a "part" of many families and observed and learned a lot about people-how they live, how they treat one another, and how they view God and the world. I'll forever be grateful for this experience that has taught me so much about life.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Today is concert 100...........Wow! Time flies when your having fun. Yesterday I pointed out to Jackson that it was the last day of February. He replied, "Auntie, I don't know why but the months go faster here. In Uganda the moon moves slow slow, but in America the moon moves fast fast." I explained that the moon is the same anywhere you go in the world, but I can't deny that time seems to go faster in America. In the midst of a fast paced life...I still try to make time to slow down and smell the roses (I actually did literally bend down and smell a rose yesterday :). Take time to stop and smell the roses wherever you are today......